NOTE: Sunday, November 26, we will celebrate the Lord’s Table in all three services.X

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2017-11-12T08:00:00-06:00

Ron Williams

Ron Williams

Seeing, Sowing, Praying

John 4:35-38; Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 10:1-2

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John 4:35-38

35Do you not say, 'There are yet four months, then comes the harvest'? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. 36Alreadythe one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.

37For here the saying holds true, 'One sows and another reaps.' 38I sent you to reap that for which you did not labor. Others have labored, and you have entered into their labor."

Matthew 9:35-38

The Harvest Is Plentiful, the Laborers Few

35And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. 36When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

37Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; 38therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."

Luke 10:1-2

Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two

10After this the Lord appointed seventy-twoSome manuscripts seventy; also verse 17 others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. 2And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.

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Sermon Reflection

It’s harvest season around Dallas. Instead of bringing in the crops, many of us are raking an unending pile of leaves. Looking out on a yard full of leaves can be discouraging. There seems to be no end to the work. But when we are down to one little pile, one more bag, we have great motivation to finish the task. On Sunday we were reminded that Jesus often refers to ministry as a harvest. The seeds have been sown, and “the fields are white for harvest” (John 4:35). The first thing Jesus calls us to do is to recognize the reality and priority of the harvest. Do we see the opportunities, and have we aligned our life with the Lord’s Kingdom priorities? The second refrain we hear from Jesus is that “the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few” (Matthew 9:37; Luke 10:2). Imagine fields that stretch out forever, full of ripe fruit, but no one to bring in the harvest. The logical response to such a crisis of opportunity is to pray for “the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Luke 10:2). Has prayer for the Gospel harvest become the cry of our hearts? Are we eager to pray and send and go as the Lord leads?

On Sunday Pete Deison shared two fascinating updates related to the unfinished task of world evangelization. Pete told us that Wycliffe Bible translators hope to finish translating the Bible into every language in the world by the year 2025. Similarly, the producers of the Jesus Film believe they can have this movie in 99 percent of the world’s languages by the same year. No one knows exactly when the Lord will return, but we know that He said, “And this Gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). What if we are closer to the completion of that task than we know? How might that motivate us to invest ourselves in this most important harvest?

Consider the words of the hymn “Facing a Task Unfinished.” When persecution was fierce in China, missionary Frank Houghton penned this hymn that continues to be a rallying cry for missions across the globe. May the Lord open our eyes to see that the fields are white for harvest!

Facing a task unfinished that drives us to our knees;
A need that, undiminished, rebukes our slothful ease;
We, who rejoice to know Thee, renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee to go and make Thee known.

Where other lords beside Thee hold their unhindered sway,
Where forces that defied Thee defy Thee still today,
With none to heed their crying for life and love and light,
Unnumbered souls are dying and pass into the night.

We go to all the world with kingdom hope unfurled.
No other name has power to save but Jesus Christ the Lord.

We bear the torch that flaming fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming that Jesus died and rose.
Ours is the same commission, the same glad messages ours;
Fired by the same ambition, to Thee we yield our powers.

O Father, who sustained them; O Spirit, who inspired;
Savior, whose love constrained them to toil with zeal untired;
From cowardice defend us, from lethargy awake.
Forth on Thine errands send us to labor for Thy sake.

We go to all the world with kingdom hope unfurled.
No other name has power to save but Jesus Christ the Lord.